Larry O’Rourke is a super Husky hockey fan. He has attended more than 40 Beanpots, including every tournament since 1990. He says Northeastern’s 2018 Beanpot title was his favorite, and it brought him to tears.
As he has dozens of times over the last six decades, 1965 Northeastern graduate Larry O’Rourke arrived at his seat minutes before the opening faceoff of the 71st annual men’s Beanpot championship Monday night.
Situated in Section 10, Row 14, Seat 1 at TD Garden, the mild-mannered O’Rourke couldn’t have been more excited to see his Northeastern Huskies defend their championship against the Boston University Terriers, and, ultimately, hoist the trophy with a 4-3 overtime victory.
O’Rourke is a super Husky hockey fan. He has attended more than 40 Beanpots, including every tournament since 1990. He goes to all the Husky home games, has won the Friends of NU Hockey Fernie Flaman Award and the Frank Mahoney Award — both given for support of the men’s hockey team, and he has never seen a valid penalty call against Northeastern over all those years. Never.
“I’m a real homer. If there’s a penalty call against Northeastern, it’s a bad call. Somebody might say, ‘but Larry, that was a good call.’ I’ll say, ‘that was a lousy call. It was against us.’ I can’t do that,” O’Rourke said.
Whether he is watching with close friends such as former player Billy Cotter or his 10-year-old grandson Fletcher or 30 of his friends from the Framingham Country Club, O’Rourke loves to see the Huskies compete, especially for the Beanpot trophy. He said he’s been fortunate to have seen so many great players wearing the red, black and white Northeastern uniform over the years, including Hobey Baker Award winner Adam Gaudette, Wayne “Beanpot” Turner, Devon Levi, Cayden Primeau and Aidan McDonough, who scored the Beanpot championship game-winner in a shootout last year and is now playing for the Abbotsford Canucks in the AHL as a prospect of the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL.
“I just enjoy it. I can’t skate. I can’t even stand up on skates,” O’Rourke said. “I know nothing about hockey. I mean, I’ve watched the game and know a little bit, but I’m not a hockey guy in the sense that I played. I just enjoy it. It’s such a fun thing.”
He has really enjoyed the recent Northeastern Beanpot dominance. The Huskies have won five of the last six Beanpots, grabbing that fifth Monday with the upset win over the third-ranked Terriers.
The run started in 2018, when Northeastern ended a 30-year Beanpot trophy drought. After defeating Boston College, 3-0, in the semifinal matchup, the Huskies rolled over Boston University, 5-2, as Northeastern’s Adam Gaudette — now playing in the AHL with the Springfield Thunderbirds in the St. Louis Blues organization — netted a hat trick.
O’Rourke said that the 2018 Northeastern championship win was his favorite Beanpot.
“I remember that night. I think there were 30 of us. There was a whole gang of guys from the club. I was in tears. We hadn’t won it for so long, and it was just incredible. It was so exciting,” said O’Rourke, founder of SNS Sales who credits his Northeastern co-op for a career in business merchandising.
“Of course, after that, we got in the habit of thinking we should be winning every year, because we’re that good,” O’Rourke continued. “But anybody in the Beanpot can win it. Not in the old days, but now, any of the four teams can win it. Any of the teams, you know, you could be ranked 50th and the other guy’s ranked number 1, and any team could win it.”
O’Rourke credits athletic director Jim Madigan for the Huskies’ recent success. Madigan, a former Northeastern player, coached the Huskies’ from 2011 to 2021, a tenure that included a Northeastern Beanpot three-peat from 2018 to 2020.
“It’s been a nice run since Madigan rejuvenated the team. Jimmy was the best guy they could have picked to coach, because, No. 1, he knows hockey. Yes, he played for us but he’s also the most personable guy in the world. If he wasn’t the AD, he could run for mayor.”
Madigan said O’Rourke is the “ultimate Northeastern fan.”
“It’s all about Northeastern for Larry. He’s so passionate about Northeastern and wants to see the team do well all the time,” Madigan said.
During a game at Providence College last year, Madigan said, the Huskies were trailing by two goals with 5 minutes to play. “He left the game. He was so upset and couldn’t stand to see the team lose. That’s a funny story because, if you know Larry, you know he’s all about Northeastern.”
On Monday night, O’Rourke was attending the Beanpot with his friend Ed Davis, a 1968 Boston University graduate with whom he has watched many games. The two said there was no wager on the game, just bragging rights.
“He really supports the team relentlessly,” Davis said. “There’s no bigger Northeastern fan.”
Cotter, a former Northeastern hockey player and member of the Board of Trustees, runs the annual hockey team golf fundraiser with O’Rourke and has attended many games with him.
“(Larry) is a huge fan of the hockey program and the school,” Cotter said. “We’re very fortunate to have him as an alumnus. I can’t think of anyone who is as big a fan as he is.”
O’Rourke fondly remembers the Northeastern teams and players who made the recent Beanpot run possible. But he also gives credit to President Joseph E. Aoun and the loyal Husky students who turn out at games and have established themselves as the biggest section and loudest and proudest fans among all the Beanpot schools.
“Everybody loves Joseph. And I’ll tell you what, I’ll say, love. You couldn’t have a nicer guy to be president of the university than Joseph Aoun. He treats everybody with great respect. And the kids love him. He goes up to the balcony with all [the students]. He sits with them and talks to them. And he just loves it. He goes up and talks to them all. They all love them,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke admits he is delighted to hear the cheers from the rowdy DogHouse members and the enthusiastic fans in the balcony.
“The DogHouse is No. 1. Those kids have a great time up there. It’s developed in the last few years, it’s huge,” O’Rourke said. “They certainly have a lot of fun. I think it’s terrific. We have the largest contingent of students that go to the Beanpot.”
Though he has been a fan of Northeastern sports since he attended the university in the ’60s, his support accelerated after his son, Sean O’Rourke, a political science student at Northeastern, died in an automobile accident in 1989. He established a scholarship to support students studying political science in memory of his late son and became more involved in all university sports, from hockey, to basketball to swimming.
O’Rourke said his love for Northeastern hockey has rubbed off on his 10-year-old grandson.
“All he thinks about is hockey. He plays hockey, and he thinks about hockey. His ambition in life is to play hockey for Northeastern. He doesn’t care about being a pro or anything else. He just wants to play for Northeastern, for the Huskies,” O’Rourke said.